Keeping an instrument in playable condition.

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48
votes
18answers
5k views

How often should I replace the strings on my guitar?

When and why should you replace your guitar strings?
42
votes
16answers
13k views

Changing the strings: one by one, or by taking all strings off at one time?

The title says it all. Should I change strings one by one, or take them all at once? Does this matter at all? If I take all strings off, will it damage my neck in any way, because the pressure is ...
26
votes
7answers
824 views

What tools should every guitarist have?

What tools should every guitarist have to do most small/medium projects for their guitars? (change strings, tuners, knobs, pickups)
22
votes
6answers
4k views

Do guitar strings wear when not used?

Do strings wear because of the pressure applied to them or any other factor, or do they stay in quite the same shape as long as you don't use them?
19
votes
5answers
16k views

How do I know when it's time to change a tube on my amplifier?

I think this would be a wonderfully instructive question to people who are new to tube amplifiers. In short, how do I know that it's time to change a tube, and what's a good strategy for figuring out ...
18
votes
4answers
900 views

When should I be concerned about calibrating the bias of vacuum tubes in an amplifier?

I think it would be useful to discuss the concept of bias as it pertains to guitar amplifiers. I have read some articles saying that you should always rebias your amplifier when you change the power ...
17
votes
8answers
10k views

What is intonation and how can I find out if my guitar has correct intonation?

What is intonation? What is the best way to check my intonation and fix it if necessary?
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I set up an electric guitar?

How do I set up the pickups, neck, etc. in an electric guitar? I'm not concerned with producing a particular sound as I am with keeping the neck from warping, prevent string buzz, improving ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

How to accurately intonate a 3 saddle telecaster?

I have a traditional 3 saddle telecaster bridge. With two strings on each saddle my intonation is always a slight compromise. This is OK on the first four strings, but the bass strings are noticeably ...
15
votes
8answers
7k views

Cleaning the fretboard of an electric guitar

I have had my electric guitar for several years and I noticed that there is some "sweat dirt" on the fretboard of the guitar, so the inlay is less shiny. I'd like to clean that without taking the ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Acoustic guitar - how to wind strings on the tuning posts

While writing an answer to this question, I did a little web searching and found that the way I was taught 29 years ago to wind the strings isn't necessarily the best. On an acoustic guitar, I tend ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I properly stretch my newly strung strings?

I came across this string stretcher device. It's called The Stretcha. It claims to properly and evenly stretch new strings and maintain tuning. I never really made a point to properly stretch ...
14
votes
1answer
569 views

How does one change bow hair?

What are the steps to follow to unmount the hair from a bow and install a new set ? What kind of tools and products do you need beside a new set of bow hair ? How do you measure/adjust the length ...
13
votes
6answers
288 views

How do you care for your guitar?

A guitar that is used regularly will sooner or later show signs of wear and tear. How do you best care for your guitar and make sure it stays as good as it is for as long as possible?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I set up a bass guitar?

How do I set up the pickups, neck, etc. in an electric bass guitar? I'm not concerned with producing a particular sound as I am with keeping the neck from warping, prevent string buzz, improving ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How does the piano middle pedal work? Is there a standard symbol for it?

What are the mechanics behind the middle piano pedal? I have been using the middle pedal for a variety of music, it is wonderful, but I can't figure out how it works (I mean the mechanical process). ...
11
votes
3answers
660 views

Will my wind instrument be damaged if I leave it assembled?

Almost every teacher, expert, and book has informed me that I should disassemble my (clarinet / recorder / saxophone) each time after I practice. However, it is difficult for me to see how this would ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Lowering the action on a bass guitar

I have obtained a rather cheap P-bass imitation bass and, while it plays well in the lower register, about the 9th fret the action starts to rise and after the 12th fret it's in to the "wow, this ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it okay to sit on guitar combo amplifier?

I just bought a 1x10" Marshall combo guitar amp, and I've read in articles that many guitarists sit on their amps. Is it okay to sit on it? Is there any chance of breaking it as a result?
10
votes
2answers
421 views

Dealing with sharp fret ends

Continuing on my quest to subjugate this cheap bass I picked up in to the realm of "actually useful instrument" I've got a question about taming sharp fret ends. This bass, it has a lot of them. After ...
10
votes
1answer
168 views

Is there any way i can increase the life of my drum sticks?

Is there any way I can improve how long my sticks last, and prevent chips, splints and cracks? As a metal drummer, I find that I am playing a lot of rim hits. Whether I have nylon tips or wood tips, ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How to remove all traces of rosin from a bow ?

I saw once the case of a beginner violinist that turned out to be allergic to a specific type of rosin that came with his student violin outfit. Another hypoallergenic rosin was purchased and they ...
10
votes
1answer
177 views

How should I inspect a used piano prior to purchase?

I am considering finding a used grand (or baby grand) piano to purchase. This will be a standard acoustic piano, not an electronic version that "looks like" a grand piano. I am an experienced ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Cleaning a tarnished flute

My flute is tarnished and needs to be cleaned... I was afraid if I polished it, I would break something on it. I read online that it's a bad idea to remove tarnish on a flute yourself as you can ruin ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I stop my electric guitar strings from rusting so quickly?

I suffer from hyperhyrdosis which means my hands sweat quite a lot. The problem is that because of this my electric guitar strings seem to rust quite quickly because of this. Is there anything I can ...
9
votes
4answers
242 views

What is a guitar truss rod?

What is the "truss rod" on a guitar? Do truss rods vary for an acoustic, electric, or classical guitar?
9
votes
3answers
8k views

What's causing this buzzing sound on the high e string?

My Takamine acoustic has a tendency to buzz when I play the high e string fretted around frets 2 and 3. I figure it's something to do with the neck and tension rod. Are there any other parts of a ...
9
votes
3answers
722 views

What should I consider when I see a loosen hair in a violin bow?

This drawing should do: These are the hairs of a brand new bow. Straight, clean, etc. I noticed this: As you can see, it seems like a certain hair is a bit loose. Is this wrong? (affects ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

how does one use or apply lemon oil ?

I have bought a classic guitar for my nephew who is starting classes. The vendor gave me as a gift a little vial of "lemon oil" (translated from the french) saying just quickly something like "it ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Factors in choosing a replacement saddle for an acoustic guitar.

I saw this in the comments section on the question "Do acoustic or classical guitars need to be set up?" The saddle material makes a difference in the sound of an acoustic too. I have a bit of a ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is grease good or bad for guitar strings?

I was once told that playing a guitar with greasy fingers was actually good for the strings. However, this seems a bit counter-intuitive. Is there any truth behind this claim?
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Should a Floyd Rose bridge be parallel to the body of the guitar?

I've read before that a Floyd Rose bridge should be parallel to the body of the guitar. This is an image of the bridge on my guitar: You can see that the left side of the appears to be a little ...
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Strings stick to pickup poles when the tremolo is depressed.

Sometimes, when I depress the tremolo quite far, the strings magnetically stick to the pickup poles... Is this normal? Is there a way I can prevent it, aside from not depressing the tremolo so far? ...
7
votes
2answers
963 views

Right way of resting a guitar

While not using or after using, what is the right way of resting a guitar. If I lean it towards a wall, is it right to lean it with the strings facing the walls or otherwise? Is it fine to hang the ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

12-string acoustic guitar - how do nut and saddle materials affect tone?

I'm doing some work on a 12-string acoustic guitar, and am planning to replace the nut and saddle. I need to raise the action a little bit for the E and B strings, and also want to change to a ...
7
votes
1answer
250 views

Is there a standard efficient method of cleaning / maintaining a guitar?

In terms of 'spring-cleaning' and maintaining guitars, and asking with regards to those of the acoustic variety, just to specify, however not to eliminate any differences should anyone care to ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What methods are there to determine when a violin string should be replaced?

I am very new to the violin. I have broken a string just once - and it was while attempting to tune it. The string breaking was rather surprising and powerful - I'm glad my face was not too close. ...
7
votes
2answers
899 views

Adjusting clarinet or saxophone reeds

How do various techniques and equipments for adjusting reeds compare? e.g. ...
7
votes
1answer
270 views

Should I replace unwound strings on my acoustic guitar as often as the wound ones?

The wound strings wear off quite fast, and start sounding dull even faster, so I replace them quite often. But whenever I do so, I replace the unwound strings as well, even though at that point, they ...
7
votes
2answers
106 views

cleaning trombone slide where outer slide is under the inner slide

I have been playing for some time, but have never found a good way to clean the inner slide up inside the part where the outer slide is under the metal in first position I've tried tooth picks and ...
7
votes
0answers
181 views

How to properly store valuable guitars?

What are the general guidelines when storing a collectors, very nice guitar (special woods, etc.), or one you value greatly? You will find humidity control systems in place at stores with "acoustic ...
6
votes
5answers
488 views

What am I doing wrong when tuning the violin using a web application?

I don't know anything about violins, and I won't have time for a tutor until much later. When attempting to tune my violin, I was advised to get a digital violin tuner. Alright. But before I go get ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Will steel strings wear out my nickel frets ?

I have bought some coated strings because I wanted to try that out. After my purchase I noticed that the package says the uncoated strings are stainless steel. Since my frets are made out of nickel ...
6
votes
3answers
182 views

Is it okay if I play guitar/bass with wet fretting hand?

I know to keep a guitar/bass is not to play with wet hands. But, is it okay to play just with fretting hand a bit wet? I'm thinking about the neck, will it affect the tone?
6
votes
3answers
192 views

How do you identify string gauge?

A friend broke a string on her bowed psaltery (a small zither-like instrument) and needs to replace it. Problem: what gauge? The source of the instrument is unknown and it didn't come with spare ...
6
votes
2answers
552 views

Upgrade tuners or get a new guitar?

I have an Ibanez V70CE Acoustic-Electric guitar. While it was not expensive, I like the way it feels and it sounds just fine. The problem is it doesn't like to stay in tune. I always use high quality ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Do acoustic or classical guitars need to be set up?

Obviously acoustic and classical guitars don't have external pickups that need to be setup, but are there any other adjustments that need to be done on a regular basis? There doesn't seem to be a ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

Do I need to have my guitar re-set up if I change the weight of my strings

I'm a newbie transitioning to intermediate and I have a rather nice strat with 11 gauge strings. I'd like to try lighter strings but someone told me changing gauge will require the guitar to be re-set ...
6
votes
2answers
192 views

What is causing this weird distortion coming from my amp?

Here is the sound I'm talking about. I get this sound, unless I strum ridiculously lightly, on different amp volume settings, with no gain, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Insane amounts of fret buzzing on my lower strings

This may have been addressed before, but I can't really find a thread that targets this problem. Whenever I play on my low B, E, or A string between open and fifth fret inclusive, it always buzzes ...